Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My bad mood is lifting - DWI Fatalities are decreasing

The last month has been lousy for me. We have had to lay off staff, shut down services, and be attacked by community members who think GCASA's services are nothing but a scam to bilk taxpayers.

Also, at this time of year, I miss my dead children. Brigid was killed when she was 5 and Ryan was killed when he was 8 in 1993 by a three time drunk driver. If they were alive today Brigid would be 22 and Ryan would be 25 and we would be looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

So, it was a special gift today when I came across the recent DWI statistics published by the Century Council. Here's what they show in part:

DWI fatalities in the United States were 21,113 in 1982. They were 13,739 in 1993. Two of those were Brigid and Ryan. In 2008, there were 11,773. DWI fatalities have decreased 44% in 26 years.

Further the DWI fatality rate in New York state is 1.7/100,000 which is the lowest in the nation.

There were 340 DWI fatalities in New York State in 2008. That is 340 too many, but much better than the 600 and some back in the 80s and 90s.

So, I wondering who gets the credit for the saving of lives? I give credit to law enforcement, to the courts, to the district attorneys, to the treatment agencies, to the prevention programs, to the probation departments, to the drunk driver education programs, to our citizens who are more knowledgable and cooperative about not driving drunk.

I am proud of the work we have done and do at GCASA. You and your family is alive today because you weren't killed by a drunk driver. I hope that you will thank a police officer, a magistrate, a district attorney, a probation officer, and maybe a substance abuse professional who evaluated and treated a patient for their alcohol use disorder, and who facilitated a Victim Impact Panel for DWI offenders, and who engaged in other educational activities to raise awareness about the danger of drinking and driving.

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

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